News and notes – Punter R.J. Morse was held out of spring workouts due to an injury…top kick returner Brandon Williams (shin) and top punt returner Jim Leonhard (undisclosed) were held out of spring workouts with injuries. Ernest Mason, the top reserve at both positions, is suspended and faces six misdemeanor charges stemming from two incidents.
Spring MVP – Kenneth DeBauche. Despite Morse's vast improvement last season, DeBauche played well enough this spring to rekindle a competition that brewed last fall. DeBauche was said to be in a virtual tie with Morse all throughout last fall, with Morse essentially winning due to experience. With Morse out this spring, DeBauche demonstrated his improvement, culminating with a strong spring game performance. If he can improve his directional kicking there is a slight possibility he could unseat Morse.
Standing pat – Mike Allen demonstrated decent accuracy this spring on short field goals attempts. His kickoff distance improved, but still was not anything to write home about.
Waiting for Mehlhaff – If he is nearly as good as advertised, incoming freshman Taylor Mehlhaff will quickly assume the kickoff duties in the fall. There is also the strong possibility that Mehlhaff could handle long field goal attempts, while Allen continues to kick anything inside 40 yards.
Blaze returns – Without Leonhard, Williams and Mason, the return game was rather ho-hum. With Mason's uncertain status, the team will need to quickly develop depth at those spots in the fall.
Spring football wrap
Part 1 - wide receivers
Part 2 - defensive ends
Part 3 - offensive linemen
Part 4 - special teams
Part 5 - quarterbacks